Bay City News

‘Shoulder Tap’ Program Uses Decoys to Fight Illegal Alcohol Sales to Minors

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Alcoholic Beverage Control

More than 70 state law enforcement agencies, including many from the Bay Area, are joining the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in the underage drinking enforcement "Shoulder Tap 2019" operation.

The "shoulder tap" refers to a common way for minors to obtain alcohol — by standing outside of a liquor store or market and asking adults to buy them alcohol. A recent survey conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department indicated that almost half of all minors who try to acquire alcohol use this method.

Law enforcement agencies, in collaboration with the state ABC, also use decoys -- minors who try to buy alcohol. Clerks that don't check IDs or sell to the decoys anyway arte cited or arrested. In 2018, ABC agents cited or arrested more than 3,200 people in "Shoulder Tap" operations, the agency said.

Over the program's 10 years, about one in 10 people approached as part of a "Shoulder Tap" operation buys alcohol for a decoy.

The timing of the operation centers on the St. Patrick's Day, March 17, which this year is a Sunday.

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